Huddle: Five Atlantic Canadian Startups Tackling Mental Health Issues
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Over the last several years, the topic of mental health has come to the forefront. What was once as a topic veiled in shame and secrecy is not being discussed openly, and for the better.
Whether it’s in the workplace, educational institutions, or at alone at home, businesses and startups worldwide are introducing products and services to help improve mental wellness, some of those startups are in Atlantic Canada.
Here is a look at just five of them:
New Brunswick’s WellTrack provides mental health software for post-secondary students. The software allows students to monitor their moods and progress and to get the right help they need. Features include guided therapy for stress, anxiety and depression; Virtual Zen room; securing sharing with councillors and more.
WellTrack has been hard at work over the last few years. In February last year, they were accepted into 500 Startups’ 20th batch of companies
. Their customers now include Boston College, Georgia State University, Memorial University, University of California Santa Cruz and Ryerson University.
Fredericton’s Refram Games
is on a mission to create games and applications for tackling real-world social issues in a fun and enlightening way.
The first game they hope will do this is Guide
, which focuses on empathy to help kids tackle anxiety issues. The game follows the story of Fia, a baby phoenix chick lost and alone in a dark forest. Players help Fia to escape these woods by encouraging her to face her fear of the forest’s shadows. By doing this, the aim is to help both Fia and the users to acknowledge “the fire that they always had within.”
As recently reported by Entrevestor
, the company is in the process of getting the data it needs to assess whether its new video game is effective in helping children cope with anxiety issues.
Formerly ADDtext, Halifax-based ADDvocacy
offers support for youth and adults who live with ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Autism, Anxiety and other occurring conditions that impact executive functioning as they transition to post-secondary, career exploration and/or entrepreneurship. ADDvocacy’s employs certified “strADDegists” who coach clients using various communication channels, including SMS/MMS.
CEO Keith Gelhorn tells Huddle that business is up over 350 per cent from this time last year and on track to hit 500 per cent growth by October.
Wear Your Label
Founded in Fredericton in 2014, Wear Your Label
is a clothing company on a mission to eliminate the stigma around mental health. The company has gone through some challenges over the last year, but with co-founder Kyle McNevin rejoining the company as CEO back in May, the company appears to have a promising future.
Back in July, the company announced a new partnership with Hudson’s Bay Company, one of the largest retailers in North America, for its new #TheFutureisStigmaFree t-shirt campaign. In an interview with Huddle at the time
, McNevin says the company was planning some new partnerships for the fall.
“This is just the beginning. The next several months will reveal a lot about the improvements we are making,” said MacNevin. “For now, we are focusing on making a great product and strengthening our supply chain and infrastructure to ensure the company is ready for bigger and more meaningful partnerships.”
Based in Halifax, Tranquility
offers an online platform that leverages Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to deliver knowledge and skills to help users suffering from different types of anxiety.
The company is founded by Joel Muise, a chartered financial analyst and mental health advocate and Rebecca Tucker, a Clinical Psychology PHD student at Dalhousie University.
Tranquility is a subscription-based service and offers self-help, group and one-on-one coaching options starting at $49.99 a month. The company is currently offering 7-day free trials of its services.